Investigation of sagittal image acquisition for 4D-MRI with body area as respiratory surrogate




The authors have recently developed a novel 4D-MRI technique for imaging organ respiratory motion employing cine acquisition in the axial plane and using body area (BA) as a respiratory surrogate. A potential disadvantage associated with axial image acquisition is the space-dependent phase shift in the superior–inferior (SI) direction, i.e., different axial slice positions reach the respiratory peak at different respiratory phases. Since respiratory motion occurs mostly in the SI and anterior–posterior (AP) directions, sagittal image acquisition, which embeds motion information in these two directions, is expected to be more robust and less affected by phase-shift than axial image acquisition. This study aims to develop and evaluate a 4D-MRI technique using sagittal image acquisition.


The authors evaluated axial BA and sagittal BA using both 4D-CT images (11 cancer patients) and cine MR images (6 healthy volunteers and 1 cancer patient) by comparing their corresponding space-dependent phase-shift in the SI direction (δSPSSI) and in the lateral direction (δSPSLAT), respectively. To evaluate sagittal BA 4D-MRI method, a motion phantom study and a digital phantom study were performed. Additionally, six patients who had cancer(s) in the liver were prospectively enrolled in this study. For each patient, multislice sagittal MR images were acquired for 4D-MRI reconstruction. 4D retrospective sorting was performed based on respiratory phases. Single-slice cine MRI was also acquired in the axial, coronal, and sagittal planes across the tumor center from which tumor motion trajectories in the SI, AP, and medial–lateral (ML) directions were extracted and used as references from comparison. All MR images were acquired in a 1.5 T scanner using a steady-state precession sequence (frame rate ∼ 3 frames/s).


4D-CT scans showed that δSPSSI was significantly greater than δSPSLAT (p-value: 0.012); the median phase-shift was 16.9% and 7.7%, respectively. Body surface motion measurement from axial and sagittal MR cines also showed δSPSSI was significantly greater than δSPSLAT. The median δSPSSI and δSPSLAT was 11.0% and 9.2% (p-value = 0.008), respectively. Tumor motion trajectories from 4D-MRI matched with those from single-slice cine MRI: the mean (±SD) absolute differences in tumor motion amplitude between the two were 1.5 ± 1.6 mm, 2.1 ± 1.9 mm, and 1.1 ± 1.0 mm in the SI, ML, and AP directions from this patient study.


Space-dependent phase shift is less problematic for sagittal acquisition than for axial acquisition. 4D-MRI using sagittal acquisition was successfully carried out in patients with hepatic tumors.